- Startup Pasta Noodles Co. has debuted a line of instant pasta meals. The company partnered with Italian pasta machinery manufacturer Storci to develop the pasta line that uses a steaming process to remove water before it is dehydrated. Its founder and CEO Paolo Internicola told Food Dive the technology helps retain quality and flavor.
- The product is available online and at select retailers in three varieties: Marinara, Spicy Marinara and Italian Mac and Cheese. The pasta is designed to cook in three minutes with hot water, and does not require a stovetop or cookware.
- Instant noodle sales are booming. Cup Noodles and Top Ramen maker Nissin reported a 41% year-over-year increase in sales during the last quarter of 2022. Pasta Noodles Co. is hoping to capture some of that momentum while catering to consumers of the Italian dinner staple.
Paolo Internicola, who originally hails from Italy but moved to the U.S. 25 years ago, previously helped Italian companies establish their presence stateside as the managing director of ItItalian LLC, a consulting firm.
But in February 2020, when COVID-19 caused Italy and much of the rest of the world to shut down, he lost his job. At this same time, ramen became a popular staple at home. That’s when Internicola got the idea for a way to make Italian pasta more accessible to consumers.
He said the data about ramen’s success in recent years showed people want more accessible ways of eating meals. Pasta Noodles Co.’s pasta cooks 80% faster than typical pasta, he said. The company added a Spicy Marinara because of Gen Z’s preference for hotter foods.
Pasta Noodles Co. also touts its products’ better-for-you elements, including having 450 fewer calories compared to most packaged ramen, as well as less sodium. Internicola attributed the nutritional benefits to the freshness of the product’s ingredients.
The company does not plan to stop with this launch. It plans to debut other pasta flavors in early 2024, such as pesto, Internicola said. Then in the second half of next year, it will expand into instant rice and couscous products using the same technology. The market for couscous — a pasta product made from turning wheat flour into small spheres — is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.8% through 2029, according to Straits Research.
“Our pasta comes from the same machine as pasta that you buy from the grocery store, like Barilla,” Internicola said of the technology. “There’s so much to cook and so many dishes we can create.”